The Yomiuri ShimbunPrime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump, who arrived in Japan on Sunday as part of his Asian tour, are likely to discuss how to evacuate Japanese citizens in South Korea in the event of an emergency on the Korean Peninsula, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.
The evacuation of about 60,000 Japanese and an estimated more than 200,000 U.S. citizens in South Korea is the main focal point in dealing with an emergency on the peninsula.
The Japanese government hopes to use land, sea and other transport by the U.S. military stationed in South Korea as the basis of its evacuation plan.
Trump has not ruled out a military option against North Korea, which is continuing its nuclear and missile development.
In an interview on Thursday, Trump’s national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster said, “it would be irresponsible not to talk about the potential for military efforts” during the president’s Asian tour.
McMaster’s comment indicated that how to deal with an emergency on the Korean Peninsula will likely be on the agenda in the bilateral meeting and on other occasions.
If an emergency occurs on the peninsula, airports in South Korea are expected to close, which likely will make it difficult to transport evacuees in civilian aircraft.
According to the Japanese government’s basic policies, Japanese citizens are to be evacuated to shelters designated by the South Korean government.
Then, after waiting until the situation is brought back under control, they will start to leave for Japan from the multiple locations where they have gathered.
The Japanese government wants to use Maritime Self-Defense Forces transport vessels and other means for transportation to Japan from Busan and other locations in South Korea.
However, as South Korea is negative about Self-Defense Forces activities within South Korea, there are no prospects for realizing this idea.
For that reason, the transportation of Japanese evacuees by U.S. military stationed in South Korea will likely become the basis of the Japanese government’s evacuation plan.